Joint Letter to the President of the Convention on the Future of Europe, Valéry
Dear Mr President,
Our organisations represent Christian churches as well as church-related agencies
The close interest taken by the Churches and these organisations in the work of the
European Convention is evident in the individual submissions made by our
organisations in recent weeks. We have also welcomed the creation of a structured
Forum to enable the variety of institutions, associations and communities in both the
Member and Candidate States to participate actively in the debate.
In this joint letter, we should like to emphasise our shared suggestions, reflecting our
common values. In particular, we propose the following:
1. The European Union should perceive itself as a community of values, based on the
centrality of the human being and the promotion of peace and reconciliation, justice,
solidarity, subsidiarity and sustainability.
2. The religious and spiritual heritage of Europe should be acknowledged in any
constitutional text. The specific contribution of Churches and religious communities to
society should be acknowledged.
3. A future constitutional text should incorporate fundamental rights. Among these,
religious freedom in its individual, corporate and institutional dimension should be
4. The pursuance of the common good should be integrated as one of the core
principles of the European Union. Poverty eradication at a global level, support for the
marginalised and those threatened by social exclusion, especially migrants and ethnic
minorities, should be specifically declared key objectives. Access to a high level of
social services must be guaranteed. The important role played by non-statutory social
welfare providers in sustaining a multitude of charitable services should be
5. In order for the European Union to fulfil its responsibility for global and sustainable
development, it must be able to speak with one voice on the world stage. Building
sound and just relationships, both with its immediate neighbours and globally, is
essential to develop a fair and just system of global governance.
6. There is a need to reinvigorate democratic political life and, above all, to ensure that
citizens sense that their concerns are heard and are taken seriously. Citizens and legal
residents should be able to participate and contribute fully at all levels. A future
constitutional text should provide for a structured dialogue with the variety of institutions,
associations and communities in society. In this context, the specificities of Churches
and religious communities should be taken into account.
7. A future constitutional text of the European Union should incorporate Declaration N°
11 of the Final Act of the Treaty of Amsterdam, expressing its respect for the status of
Churches and religious communities as recognised by each Member State.
We hope that you will find the submissions made by the organisations mentioned above
and represented by the signatories to this letter to be an interesting and helpful
contribution to shaping the future of the European Union. We are committed to
continuing our constructive engagement in the debate in the Convention and intend to
make more detailed contributions in the coming months.
Keith Jenkins , Associate General Secretary of the Conference of European Churches
(CEC) and Director of its Church and Society Commission
Mgr Noël Treanor
Secretary General, Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European
Community – COMECE
Denis Viénot, President, Caritas Europa
Jürgen Gohde, President, Eurodiaconia
Jef Felix, Secretary General, International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity –
Rob van Drimmelen, Secretary General, Association of World Council of Churches
related Development Organisations in Europe – APRODEV
Doris Peschke, General Secretary, Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe –
Thomas Eggensperger OP, Directeur, Spiritualité, Cultures et Société en Europe –
Pierre de Charentenay SJ. Directeur, Office catholique d’information et d’initiative pour
l’Europe – OCIPE
28 June 2002